I can’t tell you the number of emails I receive that start out: “Hey Beth.”  “Hey” may be an acceptable greeting in person, but in print, it comes off a bit too informal for my taste.

But “hey” was put in perspective when I was copied on an email that was sent by a current member of an organization to its retired president. It began: “Dear a happy bunch of [First Name Last Name],” as it sought to ask for time and contributions from this person. Seriously? The sender is director-level and that’s how they chose to address a legend? Actually, I can’t think of any situation in which that wording is appropriate. I hate to think of how they communicate with their staff.

Text messaging, social media, emojis and inter-office channels like Slack have certainly loosened the formality around communication, but common sense and courtesy should still prevail. Leave the “hey’s” for when you run into a buddy on the street and keep the “happy bunch” lingo for when you’re describing bananas. How you begin your message truly does have an impact on how you are perceived.

 

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